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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just as Bison and Wolves were being systematically eliminated from our western states post the Civil War, so too was native Cutthroat Trout....In a fine new book entitled TROUT CULTURE, writer Jen Corrinne Brown provides a sobering tale of us humans going forth with "bumper car" abandon, decimating native Cutthroat fisheries, restocking rivers with non-native fish, exhausting and decimating "natures design"...........Paradoxically, by the time the West was being sold by boosters as a wild, pristine trout-fishing destination, the native trout populations had been decimated and private interests as well as state and federal agencies turned to fish culture (raising fish in hatcheries to be planted in the wild) to replace them....................The first stocking efforts were haphazard............. In some cases young trout, called “fingerlings,” were brought in by the railroads (which benefited from tourism) to be sold cheaply or given away to anyone who wanted a bucketful............By the late 19th century state and federal trout hatcheries had been established throughout the Rockies to keep up with the demand.................Most of the trout stocked were nonnative species: brook trout from the East Coast, brown trout imported from Europe and rainbows from the West Coast............ The indigenous cutthroats didn’t compete well with any of these introduced species and interbred with the rainbows, turning once pure strains of wild fish into mutts............... The theory seemed to be that one trout was as good as another, and rainbows became a favorite of fish culturists because they were the easiest to raise in hatcheries............. By the early 20th century, several subspecies of cutthroats were extinct..............It wasn’t until the rise of the modern environmental movement of the 1960s and ’70s that fishermen began to chafe at the artificiality of their trout fisheries and to belatedly consider the fates of native nongame species like chubs, suckers and pike minnows.......... Until then, these species had often been poisoned by state fish and game agencies to make room for more stocked trout

Taking the Bait

The Rockies were sold as a pristine

 trout-fishing destination only 

after native populations were decimated.

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